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Monday, August 27, 2012

Olympia, Washington Activist in Gaza Trial: Rachel Corrie

Nadene Goldfoot
In a few hours, Israel will hand down the judge's ruling of a high-profile civil lawsuit against the Israel Defense Force, or the army of Israel.  . The parents of Rachel Corrie are in Jerusalem hoping that the verdict will be in their favor for their deceased daughter, who has been used as a rallying cry for pro-Palestinian activists, which is what their daughter was.  (The verdict just came in and the tractor driver is innocent.)  Read the judge's comments from update today.

Since 2009 one million Israeli residents have been terrorized by rocket barrages from Gaza terrorists and 7 -13 citizens were killed by them.  Gaza had 1.7 million residents.  Some of the original smaller number  were refugees from 1948 when Arabs left Israel waiting for the Arab army to take over with the promise that they could return shortly when the Arabs demolished the Jews.

Subsequently, from 2011, 790 rockets fell in southern Israel along with 315 mortars from Gaza terrorists.  All this was trying to be prevented way back in 2003 when Jews lived in Gaza and the terrorists were actively shooting and shelling IDF soldiers and Jews with mortar attacks.  Sderot, a city of 24,000 made up of Kurds, Iranian and Russian Jews mainly, is just a few miles from Gaza's border.  They have been hit by Qassam rockets for the past 10 years almost every day.  In 2007-2008 alone, 771 rockets and 857 mortar bombs fell there,  with 3 to 4 falling each day.  Probably some Gazan residents had moved here, too.

Back in 2005, the Israeli army had warned the Palestinians to stop their attacks or they would demolish their homes.  This is a far cry from action taken by Syria in their offensive tactics to rebels today.  How they handle things was clear in today's newspaper as "the regime finished off whole families, a father, mother and their children.  They just killed them without any pretext."

So the homes of terrorists were threatened because of their terrorist activities.  The IDF was trying to halt shooting attacks.  Along came young Rachel Corrie from Olympia, Washington in March 2003, an activist against Israel trained by the International Solidarity Movement into the Gaza border town of Rafah.  She was blocking an Israeli military bulldozer that was about to demolish some homes.  The equally young driver said he didn't see Corrie and the death was accidental.

Israeli Justice Ministry said, "Rachel Corrie was injured as a result of her prohibited action, for which she is solely responsible, due to her considerable negligence.  The family's case is the first civil lawsuit of a foreigner harmed by Israel's military to end in a full civilian trial.  There have been others settled out of court.  The Corries want the bulldozer driver blamed along with his superiors.  All have previously been cleared of wrongdoing in a military court.  Rachel's family wants $1 in damages plus compensation for their expenses in bringing the case to trial.

This 23 year old anti-Israel activist who had been attending Evergreen State U in Olympia, Washington flew to Israel on January 22, 2003.  Rachel must have come from a family already pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel.  I think this because she went through a 2 day training course at ISM West Bank headquarters before heading to Rafah to be in ISM demonstrations.  Her parents had to know what she was doing, and it wasn't just being a tourist in Israel.  This whole movement is well organized.  During her training, she studied tactics of direct action.  Basic rules about avoiding harm were given such as "Wear fluorescent jackets.  Don't run.  Don't frighten the army.  Try to communicate by megaphone.  Make your presence known."  Then she traveled with William Hewitt, a friend from Olympia to the Erez checkpoint and went into the Gaza Strip.

Corrie was acting as a human shield.  On her first night in Gaza, she and 2 other ISM members set up camp inside Block J, which was often a target for Israeli gunfire.  IDF fired bullets over their tent and at the ground a few feet away.  The ISM activists  figured quickly that they were provoking the soldiers so they dismantled their tent and left the area.  A British participant had been wounded by shrapnel.    Qishta was a Palestinian interpreter and remembered that January and February was a crazy time with a lot of house demolitions happening all over the border strip.  He thought the ISM activists were not only brave but crazy.

Some Palestinians thought Corrie and others were in danger of getting shot in the crossfire and others thought they might be spies.  Corrie is said to have worked hard to change their minds, learned a few words of Arabic and was in a mock trial denouncing the "crimes of the Bush Administration."  They finally were taken to family homes and given meals and beds.  Up to a few days before her death, the Palestinians were circulating a letter asking pertinent questions about these ISM Olympians which the Americans found out about and were frustrated with.  The ISM members then talked about how to engage the Israeli military.  One can interpret that as how they could interfere actively.

I had left Israel at the end of 1985, but heard from my friend, David Bedein,  who managed to get to the scene, that pictures taken that he had seen were not correct.  There was something odd about the shadows of pictures taken by the ISM members showing that they were taken later.  

Israel pulled out of Gaza with the last soldier leaving September 12, 2005.  Sharon had come up with the plan on June 6, 2004.  21 towns were dismantled and Israel had to resettle their residents, which remained a problem for a long time.  They did it thinking they were bringing peace to their nation, but instead have been constantly attacked.  Gaza has been a staging ground for constant attacks.

The whole ISM group makes me angry.  Israelis were being shot at, both civilians and soldiers, and they came along to interfere and chose the Palestinians to defend.  Israelis weren't shooting at Palestinians, except in self defense.  Where does all this hatred of Israel come from, even way back in Olympia, Washington where there are very few Jews?  I see that there are 90 Jewish undergraduates attending Evergreen State U today and it even has a Hillel chapter.  Did Rachel check with any Jewish students as to how they felt about Israel before she embarked on this fatal escapade?  Did she take a course on Middle East History?  How did she get so involved in the first place?
Update: 8/28/12:
News update 8/28/12 Innocent Verdict
Another Update: 5pm 8/28/12

Oregonian newspaper 8/27/12 page A3 Lawsuit over death:  Slain activist's family awaits Israeli ruling, AP and Syria fighting::  Assad forces carry out "cleansing." NY Times's_unilateral_disengagement_plan

1 comment:

Nadene Goldfoot said...

Photo Fraud: CNN Resurrects the Rachel Corrie Libel - Shraga Simmons (Times of Israel)
In describing the verdict in the Rachel Corrie case, a CNN video report depicted Corrie standing in plain view of an Israeli bulldozer, with a megaphone in hand, as CNN reporter Frederik Pleitgen intoned: "These photos show the moments before she was killed."
The CNN report is a lie. The photo was actually taken hours before the fatal incident, in front of a different bulldozer.
The latest CNN report also featured a different photo of Rachel Corrie standing in extremely close proximity to an Israeli bulldozer.
Yet this photo is a total fraud - a crude Photoshop job. Corrie's shadow is much longer than that of the bulldozer, while the man standing close to her in the photo casts no shadow at all.